Window of economic opportunity or door of exclusion? Nandoni dam and its local communities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The construction of Nandoni Dam started in 1998 and was completed in 2005. The main promises made to affected communities living around the dam were that they would receive water and there would be economic opportunities for them. Water-based recreation and ecotourism at the dam were seen as the main vehicle for economic opportunities; it was envisaged that these would not only create local employment but would also improve local lives and livelihoods. The paper focuses on the rhetoric of economic opportunities and poverty alleviation and the perceived reasoning that the creation of the dam is the way forward for rural development. To achieve this aim, the study combined qualitative and quantitative methods. The claim that the creation of the dam would result in increased economic benefits for local residents is firmly rooted in business interests. The adoption of business or economic approach by government through the Department of Water and Sanitation has created conditions for segregation within society. The study also found that the creation of Nandoni Dam benefits those who are rich and elite, government officials, and politicians at the expense of the local population, and this has long-lasting detrimental impacts on their lives and livelihoods. The study concludes by giving an overview of lessons learned from the case study and suggestions for best practice that can enhance the long-term sustainability of dam projects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2502
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • Communities
  • Dam construction
  • Economic interests
  • Nandoni Dam
  • Tourism development
  • Water-based recreation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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